Former Australian Group N Champion Michael Guest drove the Winfield Hyundai Accent WRC for the first time at the beginning of August at a team testing session in the UK.
Guest had previously driven the lower spec Hyundai test car, but this was the first time that he had driven his own Winfield car, the same car he will use at the Rally of Finland later this month.
"The new car is spectacular" said Michael. "The Accent is quicker, handles better and stops faster than anything I have ever driven before."
But like every other driver, he commented that he would still like more power! The body shell actually came from Kenneth Eriksson's older car as there was not sufficient time to prepare a brand new shell - but it has been significantly lightened since the Acropolis Rally in June.
Weight saving was the major contribution to the speed increase for Alister McRae and Kenneth Eriksson in the recent Rally New Zealand. It is also expected that further weight will be extracted from the car prior to Rally Australia.
Michael Guest drove a Hyundai Accent WRC at Rally Australia in 2000.
Unlike the body shell, the Accent mechanicals including the gearbox, engine and all diffs, are the latest spec (the same used in Rally NZ) and are all brand new. Guest will compete in the Rally of Finland in the Winfield Accent and will be pleased just to finish the rally in one piece and gain valuable experience.
At the Rally of Finland, local knowledge and past experience is a real advantage and drivers are only allowed to make two passes over each stage prior to competition. The stages are also incredibly fast with average speeds of over 120kph.
It is not until Telstra Rally Australia (9-12 Nov) that Guest will be able to really drive the Winfield Accent at 100%.
As we went to press Guest was set to compete in the Mantta Rally, which is considered an excellent practice event prior to the Rally of Finland.
Originally published in Australian RallySport News, September 2000
Don't miss our exclusive interview with Michael Guest, next month on RallySportMag.com
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